FIT Austin: Fitness and Wellness Services

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With hundreds of gyms around town (literally,) it’s no wonder why the city of Austin is notorious for its active and healthy way of life. Austin residents always seem to be informed about the newest and trendiest way to stay fit. Well, we’ve got a new one for you.

Between South Lamar and Manchaca sits our newly installed neighbors, FIT Austin. FIT (Fun Intelligent Training) is a mom-and-pop gym that offers a variety of exercises and specializes in TRX suspension training. Never heard of it? TRX suspension training was originally created for the Navy Seals and is a work-out system that leverages gravity and body weight for greater overall performance. From your every day people to Olympic-level athletes, TRX training is used all over the world. We think Austinites can handle it.

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Interested? It’s available to any one that is curious! FIT Austin offers a multitude of classes led by certified instructors, including the owner himself! FIT Group provides a small group setting to learn the latest movements, FIT Personal is the ultimate one-on-one program, and FIT Perform is designed for young athletes to prepare for his or her sport. They offer classes for early-birds up until the evening. Yup, they’ve got it all.

The best part? Your first class is FREE! Check out their schedule and make your body a machine with FIT Austin.

4th Annual JerryFest: August 8 & 9 at Threadgill’s

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The Grateful Dead inspire the kind of singularly focused devotion usually reserved for religions. They are, without question, the quintessential jam band. They’ve inspired an entire subculture of bootleg swapping among their fans. Generations of music listeners are self-professed dead heads, able to list their entire catalogue of songs alphabetically. People routinely followed the band across the country, effectively making their love for the band a central component of their lifestyle.

Commitment to The Grateful Dead has continued unabated after Jerry Garcia’s untimely death in 1995. Their legacy and influence is fully cemented in popular culture. At this point there have been countless books written about them. As Jerry himself said: “We’re like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice really like licorice.”

In honor of the deceased Jerry Garcia, Threadgill’s is putting on its 4th Annual Jerryfest on August 8 & 9. It’s a two-day celebration of the music of The Grateful Dead, filled with live tributes from Asleep at the Wheel’s Ray Benson and Katie Holmes, Gordy Quist from the Band of Heathens, and several members from Wood and Wire.

The action goes down Friday, August 8th and Saturday, August 9th at Threadgill’s South. If you’re unfamiliar with the music of The Grateful Dead, this is a good place to remedy that. There will be food, drinks, and most importantly, jamming. For more info, click here.

Maxwell at Long Center For the Performing Arts 8/12

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There’s a tendency to assume that the best days of Soul are already 40 or so years in the past. Guys like Marvin Gaye, Al Green, and Wilson Pickett paved the way for the style of music with a string of unforgettable hits. But it would be naive to say that there isn’t still incredible soul music being made today.

One such person keeping the genre alive is Maxwell. While there’s arguably a distinction between Neo-Soul and Soul music, the spirit and subject matter are very much cut from the same cloth. Heart wrenching love songs and an emphasis on pining vocals are at the forefront.

Maxwell, who’s real name is Gerald Maxwell Rivera, came to world-wide fame with his 1996 album Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite. The record garnered positive reception from critics, earning a slew of awards and a Grammy nomination.

Since his arrival on the music scene nearly 20 years ago, Maxwell has been pumping out high-quality, beautiful Soul tunes. MTV Unplugged, Embrya, Now, and 2009′s BLACKsummers’night have all been warmly embraced by an ever growing fan base. Maxwell has been able to maintain a steady level of critical and public adoration, along with a string of hits. He’ll have an extensive back catalog of songs to choose from when he plays The Long Center on August 12th.

For more info on the show, visit our page on Do512. You can also click “Enter to Win” for a chance at free tickets to the show here.

Celebrate International Beer Day in Austin: Recommendations From Austin Beer Experts!

International Beer Day Austin

While we’re always rather fond of Fridays, TGIF takes on a new meaning this week as August 1st marks our new favorite holiday: International Beer Day!

To help fuel your celebration this weekend, we’ve reached out to brew gurus from eight Austin establishments to get their insights and recommendations regarding what’s arguably the best beverage around. Whether you make a pilgrimage to a brewery, stop by your go-to tavern, or just swing by a local mini mart, we suggest you take these experts’ picks to heart.

Or, moreso, to mouth.

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Bob Dorsey, General Manager, The Ginger Man Austin

-Current Favorite Beer: Left Hand Milk Stout. It’s smooth and creamy with just a touch of sweetness.

-Best Beer for Day Drinking: Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap Pils. This is a great sessionable local Pilsner.

-Best Beer to Bring to a Party: South Austin Brewery Kol’ Beer (can). Everybody loves this Kolsch. It’s easy-drinking, portable and a tallboy!

-Best Beer Bargain: Victory Dirtwolf Double IPA. At 8.7% abv, it’s surprisingly smooth, sneaky strong, but not super expensive.

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 Tre Miner, Certified Cicerone®, Craft Pride 

-Current Favorite Beer at Craft Pride: Real Ale Gose (18th Anniversary)

-Top 3 Hoppy Texas Beers: Karbach Hop Delusion, Lone Pint Yellow Rose, Deep Ellum IPA

-Top 3 Sours: Cantillon Gueuze, Haandbryggeriet Haandbakk, Russian River Consecration

-Best Summer Beer: Austin Beerworks Einhorn or 7venth Sun Watermelon Berliner Weisse

-Best Beer Bargain: Black Star Co-op Waterloo or Sierra Nevada Pale

-Brewery You Wish Would Relocate To Texas: Prairie Artisan Ales (Oklahoma)

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 Craig Collins, Beverage Director, ELM Restaurant Group (includes Easy Tiger Beer Garden)

-Favorite Beer at Easy Tiger Right Now: Our selection rotates daily, so there is always something new to try. Recently, I have been drinking a lot of Firestone Walker Easy Jack, a sessionable IPA great for the Austin heat.

-Favorite Place to Enjoy a Cold Beer: While fishing on the Texas coast!

-Favorite Beer From an Austin Brewery: Love the Pearl Snap from Austin Beerworks.

-Best Food+Beer Pairing: [At Easy Tiger], Dogfish Head Aprihop paired with our Duck & Fennel Sausage. The generous hops cut through the fat in the dish, while the apricot addition highlights the flavor of the meat.

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Jody Reyes, Owner, WhichCraft Beer Store

-Favorite Beer In WhichCraft Right Now: Oh geez, this question is too tough! Totally a cop out, but I love all Belgian and sour beers. A great hot weather beer is the Professor Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse.

-Top 3 Belgian Beers: Westmalle Tripel, Chimay Blue (Grande Reserve) and St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition (brewery is called Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck)

-Best/Weirdest Beer Name You’ve Ever Heard: Hmmm, so many, but my favorite is probably Polygamy Porter. (“Why have just one?!”)

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Michael Scharnberg, Beer Program Manager
Thunderbird Café and Tap Room

-Favorite Beer at Thunderbird Right Now: Lone Pint Brewery’s Yellow Rose

-Top 3 Texas Beers: Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout (Nitro), Austin Beerworks Einhorn, and Karbach Sympathy for the Lager

-Best Summer Beer: Live Oak Pilz or Stone Go To IPA

-Best Beer Bargain: At Tbird, all of them on Thursday night Pint Night! We have some top-notch brews at great prices. In stores, Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA.

-Best Beer to Bring to a Party: Lagunitas DayTime

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Keith Sandel, Owner/Operator
Black Sheep Lodge & Haymaker

-Current Favorite Beer: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA. A super hoppy beer, but the roasted malts cut the bitterness of the hops perfectly.

-Best Beer Bargain: Lone Star. The quality’s not great, but it’s a definite crowd pleaser. Especially at the Black Sheep Lodge on Wednesdays, when they’re $1 per tallboy!

-Best Beer for Day Drinking: Pearl Snap Pils from Austin Beerworks. Nice and light, it’s easy to drink this one during the day and be ready to move into the night!

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 Habeab Kurdi, Bar Manager and Beer Buyer
Hi Hat Public House

-Favorite Beer at Hi Hat Right Now: Real Ale 18th Anniversary Gose. Perfectly balanced and wonderfully full of citrus in the form of tons of fresh lime, with a background of slightly sweet yet salty notes, make this my go-to summer beer. (So long as I can find it … luckily we have some on tap!)

-Favorite Place to Enjoy a Cold Beer: Maybe it’s nostalgia, perhaps it’s the rustic ambiance of the interior and great beer garden on the exterior, but the Draught House Pub on Medical Arts & 41st remains my favorite bar (or pub) in Austin. Always a diverse selection of classic local brews and eclectic rare beers, I can enjoy a brew there any time, any weather.

-Favorite Beer From An Austin Brewery: Austin Beerworks Sputnik — or the RICO, as I like to call it. A Russian imperial coffee stout, I flock to any bar that taps this beer, and consider it liquid gold. Only released in the winter, sometimes a keg of it will pop up in the summer, but I’ll drink a gorgeously roasted and robust stout on a 110-degree day in the middle of July. My taste buds don’t have seasons, but porters/stouts were my favorite style 10 years ago, and as my appreciation and perception of all beer styles has evolved, that’s the one thing that has not changed.

-Current Favorite Import: Favorite import brewery is Cantillon (even if that’s cliché, it remains true: simply stunning beers). Yet, the imported brew that has impressed me is Krombacher Pils, despite not having the fanfare and acclaim some other imports have. It’s citrusy and crisp, with a great pillowy head accentuated by German malts that give it just enough backbone to prop up a light beer style such as a pilsner.

-Best Beer to Bring to a Party: Not going out on a limb by saying this, but Hops & Grain The One They Call Zoe finds its way into my cooler for any party, indoors or outdoors. I may grab other things here and there to add to the haul, but Zoe goes hand-in-hand with the entire purpose of beer — having fun. We take our craft seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously, and I think the folks over at H&G might agree with us on that front (but I won’t put words in their mouths). Zoe is striking in it’s ability to subtly blend superb hop character into a lager, without either side detracting from the other one. It’s no wonder that has become an Austin staple, as it should be.

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Justin Elliot, Bar Manager, Qui

-Current Favorite Beer: I don’t tend to be very good at naming favorites of much of anything, but I can tell you right now that I’m having a hard time not buying a bottle of Fritz Briem “1809″ Berliner Weisse every time I happen by the Sunrise Mini Mart next to my house. Berliner Weisse and mezcal has been the program I’ve been on all summer.

-Most Interesting Beer You’ve Tasted on Your Travels: All of my travels lately have been to hot weather places known for their love of beer but not necessarily the quality. Drinking bia hoi (a very cheap “fresh” beer popular throughout Vietnam) on my honeymoon last year was pretty remarkable, though.

-Favorite Beer+Food Pairing: Pairings are as much experiential as they are about any specific, sophisticated flavor interplay, and you’re doing your summer all wrong if you’re not regularly wrecking a bottle of San Miguel and our house pastis service alongside the pulutan menu on our patio at Qui. Perfectly balanced and perfectly evocative of the time you spent in Southeast Asia–even if you’ve never been to Southeast Asia.

-PLUS! Paul Qui’s Recommendation: ”From our travels, I would say that I love the Nama beer that Izakayas offer in Japan.  Not frozen, but pretty much as cold as any jelly beer. Also, I love anything from the Jester King portfolios, especially the fruit fermentations.”

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For places to find beer for a buck, check out Dollar Beers in Austin, and for all-around great prices on drinks every day of the week, see our post on 7 Days of Drink Specials. Cheers!

Contributed by Sam Sumpter

 

Do512 Restaurant Of The Week: Conans Pizza – Central

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Austin is arguably one of the fastest growing cities in the nation for upcoming culinary trends, novel restaurant concepts, burgeoning specialty chefs and more! We are lucky to live in a city ripe with change. A renaissance is exciting. But there are some restaurants that have stood the test of time because they are down right good! They’ve earned their spot in Austin’s restaurant industry as mainstays. If there’s one thing Austinites can agree upon (especially those folks originally from the North East) is that there are a solid number of pizza joints in the city, but only a select few really great ones. Opening their doors in 1976 at 29th and Guadalupe and one of Austin’s longest running pizzerias, Conans Pizza is Austin’s original deep pan pizzeria cooking up gourmet pies that are healthy and absolutely delicious.

Conans prepares four vegan-approved varieties of dough each day, all from scratch. Along with their original deep pan, they offer thin, white and wheat pies. Every morning the pizza chefs prepare the dough. The deep pan takes the most work, rising three times to create the thick crust expected from real deep pan pizza before being baked to perfection in their original 1970’s ovens. All ingredients are delivered fresh daily and sauces readied in house.

The restaurant has an especially cool, vintage pizzeria atmosphere. Take a seat at one of the classic 70’s style tables or benches, or nosh on a slice while you conquer some “Off Road Thunder” in their new dining room. The walls and tables are adorned with portraits of warriors and wild fantastical battles adding to the whole experience. After all, the concept does come from Conan The Barbarian. Although there’s no proper affiliation with the comic book character, the Conans team are huge fans!

                                                                               

Last week, we paid a visit to Conans and were treated to a full meal and then some. We were beyond impressed at the level of perfection!

There’s no better way to kick things off than with a calzone. We indulged immediately in the Canadian bacon calzone finished off with pineapple, jalapeno and mozzarella cheese. Dipped in fresh marinara sauce, this calzone is tough to eat slowly!

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We decided to keep things well paced and opted next for the Cosmic Salad. A bright mix of iceberg, romaine and leaf lettuce this salad was topped with black olives, green peppers, onions and shredded mozzarella cheese. Ranch on the side of course!

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Next, it was time to feast on what Conan’s is famous for: PIZZA! We were even more psyched to discover that Conans prepares a daily specialty pie. Lunch is by the slice, so naturally we opted for a slice of their renowned deep pan. After just one bite we immediately understood why this is what Conans has built their name on. Topped with mushrooms, tomatoes and garlic, this pie was loaded with flavor but pleasantly lighter than typical deep pans. Utter perfection from the first bite to the last!

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As if we couldn’t get enough already, we thought we’d be adventurous and move to the other end of the spectrum. We were brought out a steaming pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, black olive and garlic thin-crust pie that impressed as much as the deep pan. With just the perfect amount of crunch married with the flavor of each topping, this pie was one to be beat. In just a few short minutes, it was clear to us why Conans has celebrated 38 successful years as one of Austin’s premier pizzerias!

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It goes without saying that Conans is a must-visit, but make sure to take note of their Happy Hour and daily specials. Stop in for $1 off pints, bottles and wine glasses and $2 off pitchers and wine bottles from 3-6PM Monday through Friday.

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Grab a $12 large thin one topping pie on Mondays, nosh on $.75 wings on Tuesdays, and for the vegan crowd it’s free Daiya vegan cheese on Wednesdays! If you honestly can’t get enough of Conans, and we certainly can’t, you’ll want to visit Conans North (at Anderson and Burnet) and South (at Stassney and Manchaca) for the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet from 11-2pm.

Conans is a true testament to great pizza in Austin. 38 years later and 3 stores total since 1999, Conans not only began as Austin’s original deep pan, but have evolved into one of the city’s best and most well respected pizzerias. Enter to win a $40 gift card on Do512, order up a pie, take a bite and enjoy!

http://conanspizza.com/

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Frank Fifth Anniversary with The Hold Steady

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Something special happens when you combine hot dogs and beer. No, we’re not referring to some kind of gross new hot dog-flavored beer that someone brewed in their basement. We mean complimenting a hot dog and an ice cold beer. It’s a match made in heaven.

As their name implies, Frank’s specialty is delicious hot dogs. They’ve been serving up the best hot dogs in town for five years now, along with cold beers to seal the culinary deal. When you’ve been around for five years in a town as food-conscious as Austin, you’ve gotta be doing something right. Frank has elevated their hot dogs to an art form. With tons of inventive (and more importantly delicious) variations on the American classic.

To celebrate five glorious years of slinging specialty hot dogs and cold beers, Frank is throwing a party on Friday, August 8th with special musical guests The Hold Steady and Cheap Girls. There will be a lot of beer and hot dogs as well.

Who are The Hold Steady? Glad you asked. They’re a rock group from Brooklyn, formed in 2004. Chances are, you’ve heard at least one their songs somewhere at some point. They became one of the biggest bands in the world with the release of their third album, Boys and Girls in America. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you may recognize them as the band that plays during the credits of the third season. No spoilers, but their song was a pretty appropriate.

Cheap Girls, the other band playing Frank’s 5 Year Anniversary Party, are a band out of Lansing, Michigan. They tow the line between fierce punk rock and indie accessibility as well as any band out there. They’ve toured with the likes of Against Me, The Gaslight Anthem, and of course, The Hold Steady.

If cold beers, hot dogs, and rad live music sound like your cup of tea, then Frank is where you’ll want to be next Friday. For more information on Frank’s 5th Anniversary, click here. Also, don’t forget to click “Click to Win”.

The Best Chicken Fried Steak in Austin

Chicken Fried Steak Austin

There are many false stereotypes about living in the South. We don’t all wear cowboy boots, and only a lucky few get to ride a horse to work every day. However, our infatuation with Chicken Fried Steak is a real thing. If you are keen on exploring this Southern specialty in Austin, here are a few places that will have you asking for seconds.

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Hoover’s Cooking
2002 Manor Road
512-479-5006

Located on Manor Road, Hoover’s offers down home Texas cooking that is a melting pot of southern flavors and cultures. While their chicken fried steak is tender and well spiced, it’s the gravy that makes this dish stand out above the rest. Just the right amount of creaminess and a little zest that makes the spice so nice.

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Jack Allen’s Kitchen
7720 Texas 71
512-852-8558

With locations in Oak Hill and Round Rock, Jack Allen’s has a whole section of the menu devoted to Chicken Fried Everything! Their CFS is frequently called the best in town, a tenderized New York strip steak battered and fried to crunchy perfection, then smothered in green chili gravy.

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Olivia
2043 S Lamar Blvd
512-804-2700

The Chicken Fried Steak at Olivia so good they named it after Willie Nelson. Served during brunch, it is 6 ounces of meat topped with red-eye gravy, with a side of herbed smashed potatoes served skin on, two fried eggs, and chopped salad with buttermilk dressing. It was even featured on a recent segment on the Cooking Channel. (Skip to 2:35)

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Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill
303 Red River St.
512-236-9599

Nestled on Red River in an old Victorian-style house, Moonshine offers a touch of Southern charm and an extensive menu specializing in American comfort food. Their chicken fried steak is perfect, tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside, accompanied by a zesty chipolte gravy. The portion is huge you may need to share.

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Evangeline Café
8106 Brodie Lane
512-282-2586

Evangeline Cafe is known for its Cajun & Creole specialties, but they also offer a Chicken Fried Steak worthy of mention. Made fresh daily, it’s a thick cut of steak that is never battered until it’s ordered, topped with homemade cream gravy spiced with cayenne pepper. Served with sides of salad and rice.

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Broken Spoke
3201 S Lamar Blvd
512-442-6189

The Broken Spoke is Texas’ most definitive dance hall, with a musical history that dates back to Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys. Not only a famous honky-tonk, the Spoke also serves a Chicken Fried Steak that is famous around these parts. We’ve heard that Willie still stops in to enjoy it.

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Shady Grove
1624 Barton Springs Rd
512-474-9991

Tucked under the pecan trees on Barton Springs, Shady Grove has been serving Austin-inspired home cooking since 1992. Their Chicken Fried Steak (or Chicken Fried Chicken) boasts the perfect crust-to-meat ratio, and customers can choose to “Make it Shady” by smothering it with a spicy hatch green chili sauce and jack cheese.

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Threadgill’s
301 W Riverside Dr
512-472-9304 

Threadgill’s has a rich Austin history, complete with live music, red checkered picnic tables, and down home country food. They boast a ‘World Famous’ chicken fried steak, golden fried and topped with creamy gravy. World famous or not, it most likely is Austin’s oldest recipe for chicken fried steak.

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For more destinations to find Chicken Fried Steak in Austin, stop by Dirty Martin’s, Red’s Porch, Hill’s Cafe, the Whip In, or Lucy’s Fried Chicken, who occasionally offer CFS for ‘steak night’ on Tuesdays. 

Contributed Page Jensen-Slattengren

From The Mind Of Adi: A Giant Dog, Hundred Visions, Trustees + Special Dogs from Frank

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On Thursday, July 31st, I am assembling two of my favorite bands in town, A Giant Dog and Hundred Visions, inside at the Mohawk for a special dual-headliner awesome bill.

All three bands, including openers Trustees, are currently in the studio so expect to hear plenty of new material at the show. A Giant Dog is currently recording a third LP, Pile, with Mike McCarthy while Hundred Visions are hard at work on their next one, Brutal Pueblo. (See the “Thanks for Nothing” video, done by Max Juren, from their second album, Spite.)

And it’s just not about the melodious, ferocious rock ‘n roll this evening. My buddies at Frank are concocting two specials – inspired by the bands and available one night only at the ‘hawk.

First up, we’ll have the appropriately named “A Giant Dog”, featuring a one pound pork sausage link on a hoagie (it’s giant alright) with caramelized onions, hot kraut, currywurst sauce and South Carolina mustard bbq sauce, plus “The Hundog”, a 100% beef Vienna dog on a kolache roll with chili, fresh chopped tomatoes, fresh chopped cilantro, diced onions, queso fresco, and fritos. Umm, yum.

Doors are at 9pm. Cover is $7 ($2.333 per band if you’re keeping track at home). Trustees get things going at 10pm – check out a live clip of “Last Man” from Hotel Vegas this past April. Here’s the Do512 event page for the show – where you can enter to win a couple of spots on the guestlist!

July 31st @ The Mohawk

Poster by Isabel Glatthorn

Vagabond Collective Summer Night Finale at Empire

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On August 16th, the Vagabond Collective will be closing out their Summer Nights Series at Empire Control Room with a bang. The lineup is stacked with some of our favorite local bands, 9 of them to be exact. The show will run the gambit from hip-hop to folk to psych rock, all at one of the best new music venues in the city.

Highlights include the garage-pop duo Major Major Major, a rowdy Austin band that is known for their super tight tights and raucous live shows. Then there’s instrumental post-rock-dance-party duo Chipper Jones, who are fresh off tour and armed with a new EP, Two Rooms.

There’s a lot more. Sip Sip, the 12-piece party rocking band, and Milezo, who will bring some nice psychedelic-shoegaze to the table. Austin’s own League of Extraordinary G’z will provide the beats and rhymes, and of course Marmalakes, the Austin trio who will be there to finish off the night with their finely-tuned folk-pop.

There’s a lot local tunes to like here. So, needless to say, you’re definitely gonna want to grab tickets to this show. Get your tickets here, and we’ll see you on Saturday, On August 16th at Empire Control Room.

Dirty Heads and Pepper at Stubb’s on August 4th

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Get your August off to a good start by spending a night with the Dirty Heads at Stubb’s on Monday, August 4th. The SoCal band combines reggae, ska, rock and a dash of hip-hop, frequently touring with the likes of 311, Kottonmouth Kings, and Sublime with Rome. The band’s debut album, Any Port in a Storm, was a surprise hit, with songs like “Lay Me Down” dominating the charts.

Rolling Stone even called Dirty Heads “one of the year’s best new bands of 2010.” Their newest album, Sound of Change, was released earlier this summer and features Grammy Award winning producer Supa Dups (Nina Sky, Bruno Mars).

Their tour mates Pepper headlined the Vans Warped Tour in 2011, with reggae-inspired ballads that definitely give off the feel-good, ”anthem of the summer” vibe. Pepper took a break after the release of their 5th album, 2008′s Pink Crustaceans and Good Vibrations, but they’re back and better than ever.

AER and Katastro will also be at Stubb’s for an awesome night of rhythm and reggae on Monday, August 4th. For more information and to enter to win tickets, head over to Do512!